Italian Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni has backtracked on her anti-immigration stance after admitting that “Europe and Italy need immigration”.
The hard-Right Prime Minister who came to power on a pledge to block boats in the Mediterranean has softened her rhetoric in an attempt to build alliances across nations.
Heading a summit of more than 20 nations and top EU officials, Meloni laid foundations to support border controls with an aim to better regulate migratory flows.
Addressing an audience that included representatives from Tunisia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East, she said everyone was harmed by illegal migration.
Reported in the Telegraph, Meloni said: “No one benefits from this except criminal groups who get rich at the expense of the most fragile and use their strength even against the governments.”
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The Italian Prime Minister wants to work more closely with countries of origin to manage migrant flows and fight criminal traffickers. She admitted she was open to creating more legal routes into her country as “Europe and Italy need immigration”.
Earlier this month, Italy pledged to issue 425,000 new work visas for non-EU nationals from 2023 to 2025. Before Covid hit in 2019, Italy issued just 30,850 visas.
This has called for criticism from the Right, accusing Ms Meloni of abandoning her principles.
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More than 83,000 migrants landed in Italy in 2023 compared with about 34,000 in the same period in 2022.
The Rome summit came a week after the Tunisian president signed a memorandum of understanding for a “comprehensive strategic partnership” in a meeting that also included Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president.
The European Commission President said the signing was a “blueprint” for other countries in the region.
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